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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 16:55



25.10.2011 by Craig Hoyle - Flight Global


The UK has withdrawn its Royal Navy Westland Sea King HC4+ transport helicopters from operations in Afghanistan, as its Commando Helicopter Force personnel prepare to begin training to fly the replacement AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin HC3/3A.


Deployed since 2007, the "Jungly" Sea Kings logged more than 12,500 flight hours in more than 3,800 missions flown from their base at Camp Bastion, in Helmand province.



The aircraft transported 80,000 troops and more than 700 tonnes of supplies during this time. Their last operational sortie was flown in Afghanistan on 30 September.


Assigned to 845 and 846 Naval Air Squadrons at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, southwest England, the transports will support training activities while their use is scaled back. The UK expects to retire the last of its remaining Sea Kings by 2016.


"Crews will begin converting to newer, faster and more capable Merlins," the Royal Navy said in an announcement about the HC4+ aircraft being returned to the UK. The navy will eventually take over use of the aircraft from the Royal Air Force, which is to expand its fleet of larger Boeing CH-47 Chinooks later this decade.





photo UK MoD


"While the Sea King is reaching the end of its life, we now have the certainty of a new aircraft to take the force forward and return to our core role of supporting the Royal Marines," said Capt Matt Briers, commanding officer of the Commando Helicopter Force.


The RAF currently has 24 Merlin HC3/3As in active service, according to Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

Several of the navy's Sea King 7 airborne surveillance and control system aircraft remain in use in Afghanistan, along with UK commitments of Chinooks, Merlins, AgustaWestland Lynx AH9As and Westland/Boeing Apache AH1 attack helicopters.

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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 12:45



October 25, 2011 ISAF Joint Command / U.S. DoD  - defpro.com


WASHINGTON | Coalition forces called in an airstrike to destroy an insurgent compound in the Sangin district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Oct. 23, military officials reported.


Insurgents had used the compound to conduct attacks and make improvised explosive devices, officials said, adding that no civilians were harmed during the operation.


In other Afghanistan operations on Sunday:


-- A combined force detained several suspects while searching in the Gardez district of Paktia province for a Haqqani network leaderwho builds and stores explosives and weapons and leads insurgents in roadside-bomb attacks throughout the Zurmat and Gardez districts. The security force also confiscated explosives, grenades, assault rifles, bayonets, ammunition and ammo pouches.


-- In the Dzadran district of Paktia province, a combined force called in an airstrike that killed several insurgents. The operation targeted insurgent fighters in the Dzadran and Shwak districts.


-- A combined force detained a suspect while searching for a Taliban facilitator in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province. The facilitator provides weapons, ammunition and roadside bombs to insurgents.


-- A combined force detained multiple suspects during an operation in the Maidan Shahr district of Wardak province.


In Oct. 22 operations:


-- A combined patrol detained two suspects and seized an improvised explosive device in the Khash Rod district of Nimroz province.


-- In the Musa Qalah district of Helmand province, a combined force killed an insurgent and detained two suspects during a search for a Taliban leader who negotiates with narcotic suppliers to provide finances for insurgent operations.


-- A combined force confiscated two 122 mm rockets and four mortar rounds in the Kandahar district of Kandahar province.


-- Afghan and coalition forces detained 18 suspects during operations throughout Regional Command East. Coalition troops detained seven suspects in the Sabari district of Khost province. In the Yosef Khel district of Paktika province, Afghan police detained two suspects who fired at coalition forces. Two other suspects were detained in Khost province, one by the Afghan border police and the other by Afghan soldiers. Coalition forces in the Bagram district of Parwan province detained six more suspects, and another suspect was detained for fleeing a weapons cache in the Khas Kunar district of Kunar province. The cache contained two rifles, more than 120 rounds of ammunition, a pistol, binoculars and two tactical vests.


-- In the Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, a combined patrol seized 2,400 7.62mm rounds.


In Oct. 21 Afghanistan operations:


-- A combined patrol killed several insurgents and detained a suspect in the Kajaki district of Helmand province. The patrol seized 441 pounds of opium, narcotics processing equipment and 66 pounds of IED charges.

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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 07:40



Shindand, October 22nd - Lieutenant Fazil Amery, of the Afghan Air Force, is one of the first students that will train on the new three Cessna 208B (C-208B). Along with the three more that will arrive in the next weeks, these aircraft will be used in the advanced follow on fixed wing Afghan Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training. The training is provided by a cadre of United States, Italian, Hungarian and Afghan Air Force instructors, which form the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron. (Photo: Sargento OR-6 Juan Ardura Santa Engracia, Spanish Army, Regional Command West PIO NCO)


Oct. 22, 2011 ISAF Regional Command West - Afghanistan


HERAT, Afghanistan  – After receiving the initial training aircraft for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) last month,  the first three of six new Cessna C-208B advanced trainers have arrived at Shindand Air Base. Capable of carrying a combination of ten passengers and up to 3,000 lbs. of cargo, they can serve in a light transport aircraft role, and as such, twenty more will be acquired by the AAF to be stationed across Afghanistan.


With the delivery of the remainder of the aircraft in the next weeks, these aircraft will be used in the advanced fixed-wing pilot training. In addition to the fixed-wing program, there will be six MD-530 light helicopters delivered later this year, and six Mi-17 helicopters already in place, devoted to the rotary wing portion of the UPT. The training is provided by a cadre of United States, Italian, Hungarian and Afghan Air Force instructors, which form the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron.


In 2009, the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence selected its first group of pilot candidates on which to build its future Air Force. Absent any indigenous training resources or facilities, these future pilots were sent to the U.S. where they were enrolled in language immersion training, followed by USAF undergraduate pilot training. Now, Shindand Air Base already provides basic facilities for the training of pilots and crews, and construction on the new facilities is ongoing, due to be completed between February and April next year. Shindand Air Base will not only be the center for pilot training, but will eventually serve as the training center for much of the AAF. This will include maintenance, language and professional military education, and training in the myriad support functions and skills necessary for the nearly 1,400 Shindand Air Wing Airmen to sustain the base and flight school operations.


“Many of the students we have already received training years ago before the Taliban took over the country. The challenge is to bring them to current standards, along with training new pilots and crews“, declared USAF Colonel John J. Hokaj, Commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisor Group. “The final goal is that, in three years, the students we train now will be able to train new pilots and crews themselves, and be truly self-sufficient” Hokaj added.


The first class of AAF pilots will start classes later this year, marking the first time in decades that new fixed wing pilots have been trained in Afghanistan. These students, along with their Afghan counterparts currently undergoing flight training in the United States, will graduate as fully rated instrument pilots and serve as the backbone of the AAF. They will fill a critical role in the transition to a fully capable and self-sufficient AAF.


Lieutenant Fazil Amery (AAF) is one of the newly designated students; he has already received initial pilot training in India, and is eager to begin advanced training: “It is a privilege to be able to study in my country”. Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Hashim (AAF) said: “In the near future, to have our own training facilities will create a truly Afghan Air Force”.

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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 06:25



October 24th, 2011 By Air Force News Agency, DEFENCE TALK


Planners here teamed with planners from the U.S. Transportation Command and the aircrew of a C-5M Super Galaxy Sept. 25 and 26 to open a new nonstop route from the U.S. to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.


The aircrew members and aircraft originated from the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del.


The flight marked the first time a C-5 has flown this route from the United States East Coast, across the Atlantic Ocean, then over Europe into Afghanistan, officials said. The total flight time was less than 14 hours, cutting time off of traditional routing and eliminating the need for crews to rest overnight in Germany. The new route also enhances the ability of air mobility forces to respond worldwide despite challenging environments including volcanoes, floods, natural disasters or weather-related diversions.


"This was a huge collaborative effort," said Harold Guckin, the chief planner for the Contingency Channel Operations Directorate here. "My schedulers worked closely with flight managers from the command and control directorate, and we all worked tirelessly with the operations group at Dover (AFB) to get the mission planned."


The success of the flight also required in-flight refueling over England by a KC-135R Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.


With its ability to carry more than any other aircraft, the C-5 has been an aviation workhorse for the Air Force since the 1970s and is critical to the success of global mobility operations, officials said. The new route not only showcased the capabilities of the airframe, but also supported ongoing Department of Defense efficiency initiatives by providing both an increase in airlift velocity and a reduced mobility footprint.


According to officials here, planners at the 618th AOC (TACC) are constantly looking for innovative solutions that allow the mobility Air Force to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by the American taxpayer.


"The 618th AOC (TACC) is the hub for mobility operations, said Brig. Gen. Dewey Everhart, the 618th AOC (TACC) commander. "It is our responsibility to ensure that those we serve can succeed in their mission. This new route provides invaluable options and increased flexibility, so air mobility assets can arrive where they're needed faster and more efficiently."

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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 06:00




Oct 24, 2011 Kabul - AFP SpaceWar.com


NATO said Monday that about 200 Taliban-linked militants had been killed or captured in major military operations along Afghanistan's troubled eastern border with Pakistan.


Hundreds of Afghan troops backed by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been involved in a major offensive announced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Islamabad last week.


The crackdown focused on the troubled border with joint forces going after insurgents linked to the hardline Haqqani group.


"As these operations, which were Afghan-led and supported by ISAF, have concluded, we can now say that at least 20 Haqqani-affiliated insurgents have been killed or captured," Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told reporters.


About 175 non-Haqqani rebels were killed or captured, the ISAF spokesman said, adding that the operations lasted about one week.


He said the operation had been designed to hit the insurgency hard ahead of the winter, when rebels retreat to hideouts along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and prepare for the new fighting season the following spring.


"The insurgents will not have a quiet winter," Jacobson said.


Clinton had talked up military action along the border during her visit to the region last week, pushing Pakistan to do more to crack down on the Haqqanis and other Islamist safe havens on its side of the border.


She said a "major military operation" in Afghanistan "has been rounding up and eliminating Haqqani operatives on this side of the border", while also saying international efforts were under way to cut the group's finance flows.


Operation Knife Edge was launched along the wild and porous border area in eastern Afghanistan, while Operation Shamshir was focused around Kabul and provinces south of the capital, and lasted about one week.


Jacobson said rocket attacks from Pakistan had increased over the summer. Rising tit-for-tat allegations of cross-border attacks have flown across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border for months.


US commanders say the Haqqanis -- an Afghan faction loyal to Taliban leader Mullah Omar -- are their most potent enemy in eastern Afghanistan.


Pakistan denies US accusations that elements within Pakistani intelligence support the Haqqani network, accused over recent high-profile attacks.

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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 05:45



October 24, 2011 By U.S. Army Sgt. Tamika Dillard - HQ ISAF PAO


KABUL, Afghanistan – The International Security Assistance Force spokesperson, German Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, announced Monday that due to recent operations, Operation Shamshir and Operation Knife Edge, insurgent activities have been greatly impacted in the east and south of Kabul.


“We have concluded that 20 Haqqani affiliated insurgents have been killed or captured during these operations,” said Jacobson.  “About half of these insurgents have been identified as leaders and the remainder were identified as facilitators and/or improvised explosive device makers.”


Jacobson goes on to say that the Afghan National Security Forces lead both operations while ISAF provided the support they needed to complete the mission.


“Operation Shamshir with the ANSF in the lead conducted clearing operations in the east and throughout the south of Kabul, contributing to increased disruption of the insurgency,” said Jacobson. “These offensive operations have impacted insurgent morale, caused localized disruption to operations, and forced insurgents to withdraw or hide to avoid capture.”


With more than 400 kilograms of homemade explosives, assorted weapons, munitions and computers seized during the two operations, insurgents are no longer able to adequately supply local attacks.


“The successes of Operations Shamshir and Knife Edge have opened opportunities for ANSF to build positive relationships with people from towns and villages formerly under the grip of insurgent organizations,” said Jacobson.


The main effort of combined operations will now return to normal framework operations in support of security objectives.


All of these events demonstrate the way in which Afghanistan is preparing, with its international partners, for a post 2014 environment in which Afghanistan is standing proudly on its own feet, said NATO Civilian Spokesman Christopher Chambers.


“Coalition forces will continue to degrade insurgent operations and support growing ANSF capabilities contributing to GIRoAs ability and commitment to provide security for the people of Afghanistan,” said Jacobson.


As we are now heading into the winter months, ISAF vows to continue to set the conditions for further growth in Afghan security capabilities.


“We will remain vigilant,” Jacobson said. “We will continue to secure vulnerable areas throughout the winter months and continue to interdict future spectacular attack planning.”


Jacobson reiterated that it is imperative that we continue to stand strong and ensure that the security measures we put in place remain mobile, agile and flexible to take the fight to the enemy.


 “We cannot be divided in our cause for a free Afghanistan,” said Jacobson.  “It is the hard work and dedication of the coalition and Afghan forces that will ensure freedom to Afghanistan.


Transition remains on course with President Karzai’s stated desire to have Afghan National Security Forces in the lead for security by the end of 2014.

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24 octobre 2011 1 24 /10 /octobre /2011 21:20



24/10/2011 Sources : EMA


Le 17 octobre 2011, 30 militaires du Kandak 33 de l’armée nationale afghane (ANA), conseillée par les OMLT (Operationnal Mentor and Liaison Team ) et une équipe de coopération civilo-militaire (CIMIC), se sont rendus rendue à l’école Zarshoy de Nijrab.


Cette mission avait pour objectif d’évaluer, avec le directeur de l’école et l’inspecteur académique, les besoins en matière de construction de nouvelles salles de classes et de sanitaires en particulier pour les filles.


L’ANA en a profité pour distribuer du matériel scolaire aux élèves ainsi qu’aux professeurs : 300 fournitures scolaires, des poteaux, 1 filet et des ballons de volley-ball. Une occasion pour les soldats de renforcer la situation sécuritaire de l’école et d’entretenir des liens avec les enseignants et les élèves.

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23 octobre 2011 7 23 /10 /octobre /2011 12:20



23.10.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Comme on dit: "Ce n'est qu'une idée" mais au regard des pénuries actuelles en hélicoptères en Afghanistan, ça n'aurait rien de surprenant si l'armée française faisait appel à un prestataire privé pour des missions de transport héliporté de matériel et de personnels, en particulier lors des relèves.


Plusieurs sociétés civiles opèrent déjà sur place pour le compte de l'ISAF ou des Américains: Presidential Airways, Vertical de Aviation (une société de Colombie qui dispose de MI-8), Vertical-T (une firme russe qui déploie des MI-8 et des MI-26), Evergreen Helicopters (USA, avec des S-61 et des SA-330 Puma), Canadian Helicopters (avec des S-61)...

columbia-helicopters-150x150.jpgSeuls les impressionnants MI-26 de vertical-T pourraient faire l'affaire pour héliporter nos troupes lors de leurs transferts. Mais c'est sans compter sur Columbia Helicopters, une société US de l'Oregon, dont les hélicoptères volent déjà en Afghanistan dans le cadre d'un contrat avec l'US States Transportation Command.


L'intérêt de Columbia Helicopters? La société dispose de Chinook (8) et de CH-46 Sea Knight (13); c'est l'un des rares opérateurs civils de Chinook (en version 324, plus longue).

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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 12:55



20/10/2011 Sources : EMA


Le 15 octobre 2011, sur le camp militaire français de Nijrab, le général Jean-Pierre Palasset a succédé au général Emmanuel Maurin a la tête de la Task Force La Fayette (TFLF).


Présidée par le major-général Allyn, commandant les forces de la FIAS (force internationale d’assistance à la sécurité) déployées dans la région Est du pays, la cérémonie s’est tenue en présence de M. Bajolet, ambassadeur de France en Afghanistan, du général Charpentier commandant les forces terrestres en France, du général Yar Mohamad représentant le général commandant le 201e corps de l’armée nationale afghane.


Des autorités civiles afghanes ont également pris part à la cérémonie, telles que le gouverneur de la province de Kapisa, plusieurs sous-gouverneurs de districts, des sénateurs et députés membres du parlement afghan, ainsi que de nombreux représentant de la population locale, avec lesquels le général Maurin avait travaillé pendant son mandat.


Lors de cette cérémonie, le major-général Allyn a chaleureusement remercié le général Maurin pour le travail effectué et les succès obtenus.


Ce dernier, s’adressant pour la dernière fois aux soldats de la brigade La Fayette , s’est dit fier du travail accompli et confiant en les capacités des forces de sécurité afghanes. « Les forces de sécurité afghanes sont désormais aux commandes des opérations. Nous continuerons à les accompagner tant que cela sera nécessaire mais, déjà, elles remportent des succès quotidiens » a-t-il déclaré.


Le général Maurin a notamment rappelé la dernière opération en vallée d’Uzbeen au cours de laquelle les  31 et 32 de l’ANA ont conduit l’action principale, avec le soutien des unités de la TF La Fayette . Il a également cité l’action du kandak 33 en vallée de Ghayn la semaine dernière, qui s’est engagé de manière totalement autonome.


A l’issue de la cérémonie, le général Palasset, commandant la 1ère brigade mécanisée de Châlons-en-Champagne, a pris la tête du cinquième mandat de la Task Force La Fayette .


Tenant à saluer la mémoire des 75 soldats français qui ont donné leur vie en Afghanistan, le général Maurin a rappelé que « sur le marbre blanc de cette place d’armes, leurs noms sont couchés. Ce ne sont pas des noms anonymes, ce sont des noms de soldats, des noms de héros, des noms de camarades. Nous les emporterons dans nos cœur et notre conscience ».



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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 12:55


photo defense.gouv.fr


20/10/2011 Sources : EMA


Le 12 octobre 2011, sur le camp militaire français de Tagab, des militaires de la 3e section de la 4e compagnie du Battle Group Raptor ont dispensé une instruction sur le combat en localité au profit de 50 soldats de l’armée nationale afghane (ANA). L’objectif était de montrer comment mettre en place des appuis et investir des bâtiments.


La séance a débuté avec une démonstration par les soldats français, suivie d’une restitution des soldats afghans. Il s’agit d’apprendre à investir différentes pièces d’un bâtiment et se déplacer en toute sécurité dans des couloirs. La restitution des techniques par l’ANA a été concluante. « Cette compagnie afghane a déjà une bonne expérience. Il s’agit plutôt d’un entraînement. Les soldats afghans doivent travailler sur la coordination avec les appuis » déclare le caporal-chef Aurélien, chef de groupe.


Ce type d’exercice, conduit dans le cadre du partenariat entre les compagnies françaises de la Task Force La Fayette et les compagnies de la 3e brigade du 201e corps de l’armée afghane, met en évidence les progrès réalisés par les soldats de l’ANA, qui désormais s’entraîne à remplir des missions complexes.

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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 12:00



October 20, 2011 defpro.com


Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has told Parliament that 'real and meaningful' progress is being achieved in Afghanistan and that the insurgency is under considerable pressure.


In the Government's Quarterly Statement on Afghanistan to the House of Commons on Tuesday 18 October 2011, Mr Hammond began by paying tribute to Rifleman Vijay Rai, from 2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, who died in Afghanistan on Saturday.


He also made the commitment to visit troops in Afghanistan as soon as possible.


Mr Hammond said that in the ten years since operations first began in Afghanistan, with international support and assistance, the country has come a long way: "Governance and rule of law are improving across the country. The Afghan Government is providing increasing levels of basic services, with Afghans enjoying much greater access to health facilities and more education opportunities - including for girls - than in 2001."


He said that the Government welcomed the Afghan Parliament's decision on Saturday to approve the supplementary budget to recapitalise the Central Bank, paving the way towards agreement on a new IMF (International Monetary Fund) programme of support in the coming weeks:


"Agreeing the new programme will reinvigorate the Kabul Process, allowing donors to align themselves behind Afghan Government priorities and systems as we move through transition and beyond."


He went on to say that while the tangible improvements that have taken place should not be understated, it would be wrong to underestimate the scale of the remaining challenge: "We are working from a very low base," the Defence Secretary said.


"If progress is to be sustained, the commitment of the international community, including the UK, will have to endure for many years to come - long after international troops have withdrawn from combat operations."


He said that on the security front progress has been 'real and meaningful', but it has been hard-won and is not irreversible and that, in many areas, Afghanistan remains a dangerous place:


"The insurgency is under considerable pressure, but its leaders remain committed to conducting a violent campaign. The murder of former president Rabbani is a particular setback.


"It is important that his death does not derail efforts to engage with those willing to renounce violence and work towards peace.


"We will continue to support President Karzai's efforts to promote peace and reconciliation and are encouraging engagement to support this from all those in the region, including Pakistan."


However, he added that there is also cause for optimism and that in the UK area of operations in central Helmand there is clear evidence that the ISAF troop surge has brought security gains, limiting the insurgents' ability to prosecute their campaign.


He said that UK troops, partnered with Afghan security forces, are having a tangible impact on insurgent activity in their area of operations and that the central achievement this summer has been the commencement of the formal security transition process: "The process of transition is on track and will continue," Mr Hammond said.



"The Afghan Government, with ISAF support, is continuing the preparatory work needed to begin the transition process in the next set of provinces and districts.


"October also saw Task Force Helmand resume responsibility for the Upper Gereshk Valley. This follows the temporary deployment of US Marine Corps to the area while UK forces provided security for the strategically significant Highway 1.


"UK forces will now work with the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] to secure freedom of movement, continuing to prepare the district to enter the transition process in the future."


On the progress of the Afghan security forces he said that the Afghan National Army now stands at 169,000 and the Afghan National Police at 134,000, and that both forces are on track to meet their target levels by October 2012.


On the drawdown of UK combat troops he said: "President Karzai has stated his commitment to his Government assuming lead security responsibility across the country as a whole by the end of 2014, a goal we share and support.


"This means that British troops will not be in a combat role by 2015, nor deployed in the numbers they are now. The ANSF will, however, still need support from the international community even after the conclusion of the transition process.


"We will continue to support their development, for instance, through our lead involvement in a new Officers Academy, as announced by the Prime Minister in the summer."

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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 06:35


photo by MilborneOne


October 19, 2011 Tony Osborne, SHEPARD GROUP


Farnborough - Danish plans to deploy two AgustaWestland EH101 Merlins to Afghanistan are being delayed by issues over spare parts, according to a senior official.


Shortages of key components and difficulties in purchasing spare engines for the aircraft have limited crew training and delayed preparations by the Danish Air Force's Helicopter Wing Karup to send a pair of aircraft to Helmand towards the end of 2012.


Lt Col Steen Ulrich, chief of operations at the helicopter wing, told delegates at the Heli-Power 2011 exhibition in Farnborough that the wing would probably not be able to sustain the operations of two Merlins in Helmand until late 2013.


Danish ground troops work closely with British troops in Helmand and the Danish plan would be to base the Merlins alongside the British Joint Helicopter Force (Afghanistan) (JHF(A)) where they would provide an extra tasking line alongside RAF-operated examples.


'We are getting the upgraded tail rotor which I am sure will improve the situation, but even this programme is behind schedule,' Lt Col Ulrich said.


'It's a very capable aircraft, but I want it to fly more for less money,' he added.


Ulrich said that the average availability of the Merlin fleet was currently sitting at around 60%. The Merlins are operated by the Karup-based 722 Squadron. The unit has 14 EH101s, eight SAR-equipped aircraft and six TTT-variants used for tactical troop transport.


Previously, the unit operated Sea Kings on SAR duties, but the introduction of the EH101 has led to an expansion of the unit's role, including the support of special operations personnel, and it is this training which has suffered as a result of spares shortages.


The wing is still planning to take part in the mission rehearsal exercises run by the British Army on the Salisbury Plain with two Merlins at the beginning of 2012.


In the meantime, the Danish government is shortly expected to downselect two of the three aircraft vying for its naval helicopter programme, which is being contested by the Eurocopter Panther, the AW159 Wildcat and the Sikorsky MH-60R. The chosen aircraft would replace the Westland Lynx and enter service in 2015. A final decision on the type is expected in mid-2012.

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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 06:10



RQ-4 Global Hawk (Photo by NASA)


20 October, 2011, RT.com


Following a surprise visit in Libya earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an unannounced stop in Afghanistan today. She's not the only American export people overseas are getting used to seeing, though.


In the first nine months of 2011 leading up to the 10-year anniversary of the Afghan War, US-led spy drones operating with NATO conducted nearly 23,000 surveillance missions in the Afghanistan sky.


With nearly 85 flights a day, that figure is nearly double the daily amount from only two years earlier.


In 2009, daily spy mission by NATO drones occurred 22 times a day. Though the Obama administration has assured America that the US military’s presence in Afghanistan is being diminished more and more in the days to come, the number of robotic, unmanned spy planes conducting surveillance operations has only skyrocketed, amounting to nearly four-times the amount daily now compared with statistics from only two years ago.


As criticism continues to surround the controversial aircraft, it looks as if the US is doing little to halt its drone operations. This summer the military announced that they would be increasing their fleet of Global Hawk spy drones by more than 50 new planes at a cost of $23 billion, despite the president insuring America that the war in Afghanistan is coming to a close and the United States continues to hemorrhage money, made more severe by a military that spends more than any other country in the world several times over.


Although the Pentagon insists that drone aircrafts are crucial to the Department of Defense, problems continue to amass pertaining to its expensive fleet. RT reported only last week that a computer virus recently infiltrated the drone’s command center, to which the military’s network operations team was unaware of until the news made its way to the Internet. The Air Force responded by saying that the infectious worm was “more of a nuisance than a threat,” but meanwhile civilians across the Middle East, Africa and Asia see the biggest threat as the US military itself — drones have taken hundreds of lives since the American military added the stealth craft to its arsenal.


Just this week the US government admitted that miscommunication between remotely located drone operators led to the deaths of two Americans.


As the Pentagon adds the number of drones to aid in NATO missions over Afghanistan, attacks by insurgents have gone up by nearly 50 percent since 2009, reveals a media brief issued last month from the Afghanistan International Security Assistance force. Despite what appears to be an ineffective battle complicated by drone aircraft, the US is continuing its operations with full force. The US is currently constructing new bases in remote locations in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to more quickly conduct operations over areas considered a threat to American defense.

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19 octobre 2011 3 19 /10 /octobre /2011 18:30


photo Ministère de la Défense


19/10/2011 Ministère de la Défense


Le 19 octobre 2011, un premier contingent d’environ 200 militaires français a été désengagé d’Afghanistan.


Il s’agit principalement d’une compagnie de combat et de ses appuis qui était déployés à Tora, en Surobi au Nord-est de Kaboul.


Cette compagnie, armée par le 2e  régiment étranger parachutiste, le 35e  régiment d’artillerie parachutiste et le 17e  régiment du génie parachutiste, a conduit une de ses dernières opérations en appui de l’armée nationale afghane du 1er  au 6 octobre, en haute vallée d’Uzbeen, avant de préparer son désengagement.


Ce premier retrait s’inscrit dans le cadre des progrès opérationnels accomplis par les soldats afghans, qui sont accompagnés par les soldats français depuis 2008, et la situation sécuritaire en Surobi qui permettent de commencer à désengager les forces françaises pour que les soldats afghans prennent progressivement en main la sécurité de la zone.


Il reste aujourd’hui environ 450 militaires français déployés en Surobi, principalement sur la base opérationnelle avancée à Tora, aux côtés d’environ 1 000 militaires afghans déployés sur la base de Tora et les postes de Naghlu et Uzbeen.


La France est engagée en Afghanistan depuis 2001 dans les opérations de la coalition. Au total, environ 3 800 militaires français restent engagés dans les opérations en Afghanistan. Ils participent, en soutien des forces de sécurité afghanes, à la sécurisation de la Surobi et de la Kapisa et soutiennent la montée en puissance de l’armée nationale afghane en conduisant des missions de formation, principalement à Kaboul, et en accompagnant les unités afghanes sur le terrain.

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19 octobre 2011 3 19 /10 /octobre /2011 07:45



Laying down some fire - U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sam Pastor, vehicle maintainer attached to the Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, fires the Mk48 "super SAW" machine gun at the off-base firing range near forward operating base Mehtar Lam Sept. 10. Members from the PRT traveled to the range to practice with crew served, primary and secondary weapons along with M203 grenade launchers and frag grenades.(U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane)


10/17/2011 Samantha Tanner - defenceiq.com


Ahead of the forecast withdrawal of forces in 2014 NATO, nations are digesting the lessons from the conflict in Afghanistan and beginning to integrate them into the force development strategies of the future. Some may even find their way into the Afghan National Army as they prepare to take on full responsibility for Afghanistan’s internal security.


By examining those lessons learned, it becomes apparent that the application of indirect fire support on the battlefield is just one area where many lessons have been identified in hard-fought situations. Speaking at Defence IQ’s Future Artillery conference in March of this year, Colonel Brian McPherson of the Canadian Army highlighted some key areas of artillery support that merited particular attention.


Firstly, Canadian Forces operated in numerically small battalions, meaning that despite their lighter logistic footprint, the force size limited overall effectiveness and flexibility on a man-power intensive battlefield.


A second major area of concern was lack of gun power. The shortage of guns available to Canadian forces resulted in troops being exposed to increased risk as the required levels of fire support could not be delivered organically. Highly specialised training was required so that the speed and accuracy of fire support was increased to a point whereby the risks of reduced volumes of guns were compensated for by higher performing crews. This, allied with innovative changes to the structure and composition of operational artillery crews, resulted in greater responsiveness to calls for fire.


Such learning at speed, borne of operational necessity was not confined to Canadian Forces. Colonel Birger Mejlholm has identified a similar process within the Danish Army, it too a small force that was required to rework the structure of fire support detachments. With a shortfall in the volume of key capabilities and technology available, Danish units have been forced to turn to coalition allies in order to coordinate and deliver indirect fires. This has required their gunners to become exceptionally adept at interoperating with other nations, not least in areas of command and control. Whilst the enabling technology is important, the level of training required cannot be underestimated and this is an area where the Danish forces have expended considerable effort.


An area where the Danes excelled was in identification and target acquisition. Much of this success has been credited to the formation of a dedicated ISTAR battalion where the retention of specialist skills and the rapid integration of lessons learned on the battlefield afforded a big increase in ability to control and direct joint fires. The benefits of this approach have not been confined to Afghanistan as members of the battalion also participated in the Libyan air campaign.


Also common to both Danish and Canadian modernisation efforts was the desire to improve mortar capabilities. Principle enhancements to mortar design included thickening the barrel and installing longer pins on ammunition – enabling more precision.


Colonel Mike Ross of the British Army talked of the need to increase armies’ capacity to operate within increasingly crowded air space. The on-going trend of digitisation of the battlespace greatly increased the volume of aircraft (both manned and unmanned) operating at all altitudes – posing a particular problem for the delivery of indirect fires. The attendant demands upon the electromagnetic spectrum also poses challenges for gunners who require huge volumes of bandwidth to capture high quality ISTAR data. When looking towards future conflicts, the need to increase bandwidth stands out as a major priority for those seeking to improve the accuracy and effectiveness of joint fires.

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19 octobre 2011 3 19 /10 /octobre /2011 05:45


source diplomatie.gouv.fr


10/18/2011  Keith Mallon - defenceiq.com


Keith Mallon is Defence IQ's Strategy and Content Director.


The 10 year anniversary of NATO’s intervention in Afghanistan has prompted widespread comment on the progress of that conflict. Striking in the the recent coverage is not only the profound sense of pessimism from many commentators, but also the attention paid to the insurgency’s component factions.


There is no shortage of opinion on Afghanistan, understanding the protagonists’ own perspectives on the conflict offers many insights into how the war is being fought. A recent RUSI article observed that all sides seem to think that they’re winning; a worrying prospect for the gravely damaged peace process when everyone approaches the negotiations from a perceived position of strength.


Insurgency and the Taliban

Looking at the insurgents’main groupings individually, a broad degree of variance can be seen in their fortunes Although the term “Taliban” is widely misappropriated and misunderstood by the media, the Pashtun fighters of Helmand and Kandahar are the Mullah Omar led group who are most closely associated with the term. Militarily, they have been subject to a tremendous assault over the last ten years, even more so since President Obama surged US troops into the region.


Whilst still maintaining an outward position of defiance, ISAF recently intercepted a communication from the “inner shura” declaring that the proposed summer offensive against NATO forces had “utterly failed”. Original NATO estimates of the Helmand and Kandahar insurgency revolved around a simplistic three tier model of the insurgent, ranging from the ideologically-committed zealot to the hired gun.



 Source: Pajhwok Afghan News


Despite clear variances within the level of commitment to the Taliban cause amongst fighters, informed observers (like James Ferguson) have detailed lengthy caveats to this view. In their opinion, assumption of this basic structure leads to a false understanding of the depth of opposition NATO forces face from a population implacably opposed to foreign and armed occupation. Nevertheless the sheer scale of the military campaign has suppressed the group’s capacity to stage attacks and foreign troops. Its negotiating position may be weakened. Their media pronouncements are then viewed with suspicion, but this may be to confuse the real intended audience; the insurgency has proven to be remarkably adept at manipulating its message to the civilian population whose distrust of the Karzai government and the notorious Afghan National Police runs deep.


The Haqqani Network and Foreign Support

Whilst the story of Helmand and Kandahar is one of tentative progress, the eastern regions have witnessed an explosion of violence as the relative safe haven of Pakistan provides a never-ending logistics chain of weapons and, crucially, feet on the ground. Most active here is the Haqqani network who received widespread attention after Admiral Mike Mullen suggested in late September that they were supported by Pakistani intelligence. The defiance of this group is well justified. The network, which operates a very loose command structure over the multiple tribal fighters that carry out attacks and crime under its umbrella, has scored a number of spectacular hits against the coalition and Afghan forces. These include the major incidents witnessed at the Intercontinental Hotel and against both US and UK facilities in Kabul, mocking the US ambassador’s assertion that the biggest problem in the city was traffic.




The long time expert on Afghanistan, Michael Semple has observed that the Haqqanis have much to gain from the continuation of conflict within Afghanistan. Although Jalaluddin Haqqani is both a Pashtun and veteran of the mujahideen fight against the Soviets, his interests in the conflict go beyond the establishment of a Sharia state and the expulsion of foreigners. Funded through substantial criminal enterprise and the supply of ammonium nitrate (the key ingredient in IEDs), they profit greatly from the war. Recently they were accused of being behind the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, although they later issued a denial of their involvement in his killing. This may be true, or it may be an attempt to reduce the pressure on their Pakistani colleagues, smarting both from the death of Osama bin Laden and subsequent US scrutiny on their links to terror.


Their media operations are slick with videos of gory violence interspersed with pointed attacks against the Karzai government’s many weak flanks. Such coordinated activity indicates not only their strength, but their importance to any final settlement in Afghanistan. Their vocal contempt for Karzai highlights how little prospect there is for peace whilst he remains in power.


The Other Afghanistan Players

Whilst the West’s war in Afghanistan may be 10 years old, an increasingly held view is that NATO is just a late entrant to the long-running Afghan civil war. Another key player in the insurgency is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, founder and leader of the Hezb-e Islami group. Known to be a ruthless opportunist, the former Afghan Prime Minister is playing a long game. His presence in the trenches alongside the Haqqanis and Quetta shura is evidence of his strategic calculation as to who the main players in Afghanistan’s future are.

Crucially again, the Karzai government doesn’t feature strongly, although talks have been held in the past. Hekmatyar though has been making highly public outreaches to US forces, going so far as to publish his own peace plan in 2010 and again recently, offering the chance for the US to leave Afghanistan “honourably”. Undoubtedly, any such peace would involve a prime position for Hekmatyar. His continual public positioning feeds into his efforts to secure greater power and influence.



Chief Justice Shinwani from the Supreme Court of Afghanistan (right) administers the Oath of Office for the Presidential Inauguration to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec 7, 2004. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. James M. Bowman
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Karzai government, meanwhile, continues to be dogged by accusations of corruption, and ineffectiveness. The leak of the UK Government’s official attitude to Karzai was embarrassing not only as a security breach, but also by revealing the lack of confidence held in Karzai by London and assuredly Washington too. The deficit of perceived legitimacy in Karzai among Afghanis of course undermines the administration. The assassination of ex-President Rabbani and the reaction of many within Karzai’s camp (notably Amrullah Saleh) again shows how precarious any peace process is.

Many are opposed to dealing with the Quetta headquartered Taliban, especially the northern based Tajiks, long time poltical rivals of Karzai. However recent speeches in India have shown his main concern to be Pakistan, who he blames for running a proxy war in his country. This cosying up to India, a nation that many Afghans view with fondness, causes significant fear in Islamabad.


Although doing business with India may potentially lead to more positive outcomes in Kabul, the government still displays ample reasons for misgivings, not least as it recently refused to conduct a probe into corruption cases. Noteworthy however, are the political moves being made by both regional governors and Afghan parliamentary members as they begin to see beyond the Karzai years. Many powerful tribal leaders are represented here and they will have an important say in any deal on Afghanistan’s future.


ISAF: Departures and Diplomacy

ISAF’s declared departure date of 2014 ensures that it seizes upon any signs of progress with enthusiasm. Data published in October 2011 shows a reduction in Taliban attacks, but is countered by UN statistics illustrating a rapidly deteriorating security picture.


Recent books such as Frank Ledwidge’s “Losing Small Wars” have heaped criticism upon the conduct of the campaign in Afghanistan, views that were echoed by former ISAF commander General Stanley McChrystal. His remarks that NATO forces were only “a little better than” halfway to securing a future for Afghanistan will be especially damaging given the timetable for withdrawal in 2014.



 Source: ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office from Kabul, Afghanistan 


Against this backdrop, some parties suggest that ISAF underestimates the scale challenge they’re facing and that evidence the strategy is working is thin on the ground. Extensive effort has been expended on information operations within Afghanistan, but the extent to which this has succeeded in countering the insurgency’s narrative is not clear. However US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks that the US would be open to a peace deal with groups such as the Haqqanis indicate a renewed pragmatism in ISAF’s dealings with the insurgency.


The Pakistan Problem

President Karzai’s view that Pakistan is much to blame for the violence of Afghanistan is not exclusive to him. Ever since the deterioration in relations with the US, marked by bin Laden’s death, Pakistan has come in for immense criticism over its role in the insurgency. This support is not as straightforward as one might think, with strains between the ISI and the insurgent network being frequent. Pakistan’s response has been to angrily and very publicly reject any accusations of supporting terror and to run to the welcoming arm of the Chinese.


This behavior betrays the true situation facing Pakistan. Despite being able to create severe mischief in the region, the country does not have a strong strategic hand. Domestic instability, long-standing paranoia over neighbor India’s intent and an angry US government combine to raise major challenges for the government. Influence of the situation in Afghanistan is the main bargaining chip Pakistan still holds. Pakistan finds itself in a sticky situation as multiple factions within its borders will pose security threats depending upon the eventual outcome.


India and Economic Interest

India role in Afghanistan doesn’t receive much international media coverage. But that is to ignore the huge economic interest India has in Afghanistan, not to mention the security implications of a major war that involves Pakistan. Large numbers of Indian workers are involved in major construction projects and they have been targeted for attacks by insurgents. India’s timidity to date in becoming involved in any aspect of security in Afghanistan is based upon a calculation of strategic interest. However, the visit of President Karzai shows how Delhi is developing its response to the conflict and adopting a more assertive stance in the region. The prospect of a heavily ISI- influenced Pakistan that would have increased capacity to launch terror attacks into India is a sufficiently frightening prospect for her government to consider the array of options very carefully indeed.


The Western Press

A final group worthy of review within the Afghanistan drama is that of the Western press. As mentioned, recent anniversary coverage of the war was its overwhelming despondency and pessimism about the chances for peace. Optimistic appraisals of the war were not to be found and most opinion and analysis was overwhelmingly negative. This is in sharp contrast to the polarized debate that took place during the bloody years of the Iraq insurgency where fault lines between pro and anti war supporters were clearly visible.


Even such normally trenchant outlets such as Fox News have been remarkably sober in their analysis of the war. There is some debate in evidence over whether or not the Afghanistan mission could continue, but even here, a strange accord exists, with most agreeing that the real threat to the West lies in Pakistan. Is this pessimism the product of group thinking? Or is it that the situation in Afghanistan has become severe enough for a common ground to surface in its reportage? One curious point that has emerged is a report from the Afghanistan Analysts’ Network where some US and UK newspapers are challenged over their willing acceptance of ISAF press releases as fact. Given the centrality of NATO’s “capture and kill” strategy in weakening the insurgency’s resolve, blindly swallowing the official account would, if true, be a serious charge indeed.


As NATO defence budgets are slashed and the rationale for continuing in Afghanistan is more openly questioned, it’s noteworthy that the most bullish media narratives are emanating from the insurgent groups. That in itself is an ominous sign.

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18 octobre 2011 2 18 /10 /octobre /2011 21:30



18 octobre 2011 Romandie News AFP


KABOUL - L'armée afghane et les troupes de l'Otan ont lancé une offensive contre les insurgés dans l'est de l'Afghanistan, bastion du réseau taliban Haqqani, la bête noire de Washington dans la région, a annoncé mardi le ministre afghan de la Défense.


L'opération Knife Edge (le fil du couteau), lancée dimanche, vise à porter un coup puissant aux capacités de l'ennemi à mener des opérations, particulièrement terroristes, durant l'hiver, a déclaré Abdul Rahim Wardak, lors d'une démonstration de matériel militaire à Kaboul.


La force de l'Otan en Afghanistan (Isaf) s'est, elle, contentée d'évoquer des opérations renforcées en cours dans les régions frontalières de l'est, refusant de donner plus de détails en invoquant des raisons de sécurité.


L'opération est destinée à déloger les insurgés de leurs sanctuaires le long de la frontière, a indiqué de son côté le chef d'état-major de l'armée afghane, Sher Mohammad Karimi, lors de la même conférence de presse.


L'opération est lancée le long de la frontière car l'ennemi y a récemment opéré des deux côtés, a-t-il ajouté.


Selon un haut responsable du ministère afghan de la Défense, s'exprimant sous le couvert de l'anonymat, l'opération, dont il n'a pas voulu préciser l'ampleur, vise particulièrement le puissant réseau taliban Haqqani, implanté dans les provinces frontalières des zones tribales pakistanaises, considérées comme un sanctuaire et une base arrière des talibans afghans.


Washington a récemment désigné publiquement le réseau Haqqani comme sa cible numéro 1 en Afghanistan, et accusé le Pakistan d'en avoir fait son bras armé de l'autre côté de sa frontière, ce qu'Islamabad a vertement démenti.


Selon le responsable du ministère afghan de la Défense, l'opération est liée à ce récent différend diplomatique entre Etats-Unis et Pakistan au sujet du réseau établi notamment dans les provinces afghanes de Khost, Paktia et Paktika.


Wali Shah Hemat, chef du district de Gurbuz, frontalier du Pakistan, dans la province de Khost, a indiqué lundi à l'AFP que les habitants lui avaient fait part ces derniers jours état de mouvements nocturnes de colonnes de véhicules de la coalition vers la zone frontalière de Ghulam Khan, un des principaux point de passage entre l'Afghanistan et le Pakistan.


Le réseau, fondé par Jalaluddin Haqqani, ancien moudjahidine héros de la résistance antisoviétique des années 1980, allié ensuite aux talibans, est considéré par les Américains comme le groupe d'insurgés afghans le plus actif et le maître d'oeuvre de plusieurs attaques spectaculaires récentes, dont une contre l'ambassade américaine à Kaboul à la mi-septembre.


Jalaluddin Haqqani, membre du Conseil suprême des talibans dirigé par le mollah Mohammad Omar, a remis le commandement opérationnel du réseau à son fils Sirajuddin.


L'Otan a affirmé début octobre avoir arrêté Haji Mali Khan, oncle de Sirajuddin et décrit comme le chef du réseau en Afghanistan, et avoir tué quelques jours plus tard un de ses lieutenants.


Washington a également affirmé mi-octobre avoir tué un important dirigeant du réseau dans le Waziristan du Nord, une zone tribale pakistanaise.


Lundi, le Pentagone a affirmé que les attaques en provenance du Pakistan contre les troupes américaines avaient augmenté depuis qu'Oussama ben Laden a été abattu par des forces spéciales américaines, en mai près d'Islamabad.

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17 octobre 2011 1 17 /10 /octobre /2011 07:45


source khaama.com


Oct 16,2011 By Ghanizada - KHAAMA PRESS


Sunday, October 16, 2011 – German president Christian Wulff, following his first visit to Afghanistan announced his country’s long term support and commitment to Afghanistan.


Following a press conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai, German president Christian Wulff said, the German forces which have been deployed under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force will leave Afghanistan by 2014, but Germany will remain committed to support Afghanistan beyond 2014 and will continue to its assistance and training of Afghan security forces and economical cooperation with the Afghan government.


While pointing towards Istanbul and Bonn Conference, Christian Wullf said, a renewed international commitment will be made by International community to Afghanistan.


He also announced Germany’s support for Afghan peace talks and said, millions of Afghans are tired of war and prefer peace in their country despite a small number of militant groups who oppose peace process in Afghanistan.


He also emphasized that the International Community including Germany will put efforts for bringing peace in Afghanistan and urged Afghan neighboring countries and Pakistan to step up their efforts for bringing peace in the country.


He also said, Afghan peace talks process and discussions with the Afghan neighboring countries will also be assessed during the Istanbul conference.


This comes as Afghan president Hamid Karzai following the assassination of former Afghan president and chief of Afghan peace council Burhanuddin Rabbani announced to halt peace talks with the Taliban and preferred to sit in for peace talks with Pakistan.


Afghan president Hamid Karzai while praising Germany’s commitment and cooperation to Afghanistan said, Germany has been a close ally and friend of Afghanistan.


President Karzai said, Germany has been assisting Afghanistan in various fields including economy cooperation, security and reconstruction cooperation.


Christian Wullf’s visit to Afghanistan marks the first visit by a German president to Afghanistan in 44 years.


Currently, Germany has deployed around 5,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, which are mainly based in northern provinces of Afghanistan.

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16 octobre 2011 7 16 /10 /octobre /2011 18:05


photo USAF


Oct 14, 2011 SpaceWar.com (AFP)


A US Marine and a Navy medic were killed by a US drone strike in April because Marine commanders in Afghanistan mistook them for Taliban fighters, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.


The two men were the first US military officers to be killed in a friendly fire incident involving unmanned aircraft.


Marine officers on the ground and Air Force crew guiding the drone from a military base in the United States were not aware that analysts watching live video of the firefight from a third location had doubt about the identity of the targets, according to an unpublished Pentagon report cited by the Times.


The April 6 incident in Afghanistan's Helmand province occurred after Marine Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith, 26, Navy medic Hospitalman Benjamin Rast, 23, and another Marine separated from their platoon and took cover behind a hedgerow as they fired on insurgents in a cluster of buildings nearby.


Though infrared cameras on the Predator hovering above spotted the three men and detected their weapons' muzzle flashes, Air Force analysts watching the video live in Terre Haute, Indiana reported that the gunshots were "oriented to the west, away from friendly forces," or Marines behind the trio, the Pentagon report said.


But the crew controlling the drone from Creech Air Force Base in Nevada and the Marine commanders on the ground "were never made aware" of the assessment, the report added.


"This tragic incident, which resulted in the loss of two dedicated service members, arose from human error during combat with hostile forces. Our military is an organization that learns, and we will honor our fallen by adapting--and by continuing to take the fight to the enemy."


Although he declined to comment directly on the report, Pentagon spokesman George Little told AFP that the "tragic incident... arose from human error during combat with hostile forces."


"Our military is an organization that learns, and we will honor our fallen by adapting -- and by continuing to take the fight to the enemy," he added.

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16 octobre 2011 7 16 /10 /octobre /2011 08:20



15.10.2011 par P. CHAPLEAU Lignes de Défense


Les talibans ont frappé ce matin dans le fief du commandant Massoud. Pour la première fois depuis le début du conflit en Afghanistan, des kamikazes ont mené une attaque contre une base militaire (photo ci-dessus en novembre 2010) dans l'irréductible province du Pandjchir. Une province qui avait résisté aux Russes et aux talibans et qui est sous contrôle afghan depuis juillet.

Quatre assaillants ont pris pour cible le quartier général de l'équipe de reconstruction provinciale (PRT) qui abrite une cinquantaine de soldats américains et des miliciens afghans de la société Sabre, ainsi que des civils de l'USAID et du ministère de l'Agriculture. Les assaillants ont été stoppés à l'extérieur des bâtiments. Les quatre hommes ont été abattus par les forces de sécurité mais ils ont réussi à tuer deux civils et à blesser deux gardes de Sabre en déclenchant leurs explosifs.


IMG_0187.JPGL'an dernier, lors d'un reportage sur cette base à flanc de montagne, située dans un site magnifique, j'avais rencontré le gouverneur afghan de la province. En dépit du calme ambiant et du déploiement de la police afghane dans la vallée, il ne cachait pas son inquiétude. La transition, même dans le Pandjchir, lui semblait encore prématurée. Voire périlleuse.

Il avait alors prévenu que si les Occidentaux se retiraient, la province pourrait bien être obligée de redevenir un sanctuaire et d'adopter de nouveau la posture défensive qui lui avait permis de résister aux Russes et aux talibans.


L'attaque de ce matin risque d'être davantage qu'un simple avertissement pour les habitants du Pandjchir. Elle pourrait achever de les convaincre que la guerre est de retour sur les terres de feu Massoud.

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16 octobre 2011 7 16 /10 /octobre /2011 08:10


source euaustralia.com


14 October 2011 defence.gov.au


Australian soldiers Private Matthew Skowron (front) and Corporal Todd Young walk through the streets of Shahidi-E-Hasas district centre during a security patrol near Patrol Base Tinsley, Uruzgan province, with Afghan National Army soldiers.


Australia’s largest unit in Afghanistan, Mentoring Task Force – Three (MTF-3), continues to build on the achievements of its predecessors.


Commanding Officer of MTF-3, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith, said that since the Australian Defence Force commenced its mentoring mission, the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army (ANA) has shown promising development.


“Over the duration of our program, the ANA’s 4th Brigade has demonstrated an increased ability to take control of local security,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.


According to Lieutenant Colonel Smith, there has been a marked improvement in the the ANA 4th Brigade's ability to plan, lead, execute and sustain operations.


“The ANA is conducting more operations of extended duration and distance to inhibit insurgent movement and influence,” he said.


MTF-3 assumed responsibility for mentoring operations in Uruzgan Province on  June 25 and will be deployed to Afghanistan until around March 2012.


During the first four months of the unit’s mentoring operations, Australian and Afghan forces have made notable achievements of which they should be proud.


“MTF-3 and our Afghan partners have discovered more than 95 insurgent caches containing quantities of explosives, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) components and weapons since we began operations here four months ago,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.


“We have found and removed around 45 IEDs, been involved in 40 small arms fire engagements and detained a suspected insurgent who was allegedly responsible for the facilitation of IEDs.


“Most notably, we have supported numerous ANA-planned and led operations across the province, forcing insurgents to flee the region and abandon previously unchallenged supply routes.”


While the Task Force suffered the tragic loss of one of their comrades, Private Matthew Lambert, who was killed when an IED detonated on 22 August 2011, the MTF-3 soldiers have been encouraged by their successes and are keenly focused on the mission at hand as the so-called fighting season moves towards the harsh Afghan winter.


Lieutenant Colonel Smith said that recent successes demonstrated the ANA was well on the way to taking complete charge of their own security in Uruzgan by 2014.

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16 octobre 2011 7 16 /10 /octobre /2011 07:50


photo SIRPA Terre / ADJ G. Gesquière


October 14, 2011: STRATEGY PAGE


France has, for the first time, sent troops to Afghanistan equipped with Felin (Fantassin a Equipements et Liaisons Integres, literally “infantryman with data-linked integrated equipment”, in plain English; "Future Infantry Soldier System"). In the last few years, the French Army has received over 5,000 Felin kits, with nearly 20,000 more on order. Some $1.5 billion was spent on development and manufacture of Felin kits, which will eventually equip all French infantry. For the troops in Afghanistan, a few items of Felin gear are being provided at a time, so they can get used to it. By next year, units will arrive in Afghanistan that have already received, and trained with, the gear back in France.


The first units received Felin last year, and all the infantry will be so equipped within four years. Several hundred evaluation kits were in use for over a year before the first regular infantry units received Felin. Russia, and several other countries, have checked out Felin, and liked what they saw. Russia wants to buy Felin, and some of its technology.


Frelin is not unique. France, like most other Western armies, has developed a new suite of equipment for its infantry in the past decade. It took more than a decade of development and testing before Felin was ready to go into production. Typical problems were the personal radio, whose development was stalled for a bit because the government mistakenly sold the frequency for this radio (802-862 Megahertz) when they auctioned off a number of other frequencies. A new frequency had to be adopted. The only downside on this, other than a deployment delay, was a shorter (by a few percent) range for the radio in forests and urban environments. The current range is 1,000 meters in the open, 600 in forests and urban areas, and a hundred indoors.


Felin consists of 150 items, 73 of them part of the basic equipment. Typically, an infantryman will carry 70 Felin items (including weapon, ammo, food and water), weighing about 26 kilograms (57 pounds). The weight of the Felin gear is well designed for troops on the move. It is well distributed, and this was done with soldiers, maneuvering during combat, in mind. This includes the protective armor.


Soldiers can carry up to eleven electronic items. The helmet contains 13 items (goggles, digital camera, ballistic visor, night vision equipment, commo items and so on). Water is now carried in a camelback container, which U.S. troops and hikers have been using for years. One thing the infantry miss is the close fitting, and more stylish combat uniforms they currently have. The Felin combat uniform is baggier, to accommodate the many new items of equipment. While much of the gear is evolutionary, the complete package looks pretty radical, when seen next to a pre-Felin soldier dressed for combat.


Meanwhile, Germany and the United States have been introducing Felin-type gear for their troops in Afghanistan over the last decade. Germany has had some of their troops actually test new gear in combat. Then, a year or two later, upgraded versions will also be sent off to Afghanistan.

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15 octobre 2011 6 15 /10 /octobre /2011 17:40



October 14, 2011. David Pugliese Defence Watch


This is from U.S. Army Public Affairs:


Washington - Feedback from warfighters in Afghanistan testing the XM25 highlights the lethal effects of the counter-defilade weapon.


“We are getting great feedback from the Soldiers in the field on this weapon. The Soldiers are really excited to keep the weapon system and have requested to keep it longer than we had initially decided to leave those prototypes in theater,” Col. Scott Armstrong, the program manager for Soldier weapons at Program Executive Office Soldier.


During a round table session with PEO Soldier Oct. 6, Armstrong provided an update on the XM25, as well as information on the progress of the individual carbine competition and updates for the M4 carbine to the A1 configuration.


Much of the data collected from the field is anecdotal, providing insight into the Soldier’s experience with the weapon rather than battle damage assessment.


“Operationally there is some very specific feedback that we have been receiving from Soldiers on the capability in the field,” said PEO Soldier Command Sgt. Maj. Bernard C. McPherson. “Rifle-to-rifle contacts where the XM25 is employed are very short. “


The XM25 has been renamed the Individual Semiautomatic Air Burst System to better represent the capabilities of the weapon.


“The reason we have renamed it is because that is really the materiel solution we have brought to the Army to be able to bridge the gap that was identified as counter-defilade targets,” Armstrong said.


Currently, there are five prototypes being tested by Soldiers in Afghanistan.


“We are hoping to have those in our hands for testing by the end of 2012 and downrange six months later to conduct additional field testing with a battalion size unit,” Armstrong said.


It may be a few years before Soldiers see a new individual carbine rifle, but phase one of the individual carbine competition begins Oct. 27 at Aberdeen Proving Ground.


The first phase is to ensure all of the bids are responsible and responsive from the vendors. The second phase, which runs through 2012, is to initiate the test fires for the program. The third phase takes place in 2013, where three of the rifles will be chosen and will then enter the evaluation phase.


“The third phase is really focused on getting Soldier feedback for the entire test,” Armstrong said.


The winner will be selected based upon best value to the Army followed by a cost benefit analysis which will determine whether it’s appropriate to stay with the current M4A1 or transition the entire fleet to the individual carbine or move to some sort of hybrid solution where the M4A1 is fielded in conjunction with the new individual carbine, Armstrong said.


At the same time the Army tests the individual carbine, there will be continual improvement and upgrade of the M4 carbine to the M4A1 configuration. The M4 improvements can happen one of two ways. First is to purchase the M4A1 configuration directly from the vendor and send them to units. The second method is to provide a kit to units to upgrade the M4 carbines in their inventory to the A1 configuration.


“The Army continues to upgrade all of its equipment in the inventory,” Armstrong said. “The M4 has already had over 60 improvements to that weapon and this is a continuation of that process.”

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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 17:10


A CH-47 Chinook helicopter in Bagram, Afghanistan,

similar to the one that was shot down.

photo US DoD  


October 14, 2011 Donna Miles / American Forces Press Service  - defpro.com


WASHINGTON | An insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade was the primary cause of an Aug. 6 CH-47 helicopter crash in Afghanistan that killed 38 U.S. and Afghan forces, a U.S. Central Command investigation confirmed.


Centcom officials released the results of the investigation Oct. 12.


The investigation confirmed that the RPG, fired by a Taliban fighter, struck the helicopter’s aft rotor blade as it approached its combat landing zone in Wardak province.


The grenade exploded on contact, causing the chopper to spin violently as its aft, then forward rotor blade systems ripped from the fuselage. The aircraft crashed into a dry creek bed, then burst into flames. Onboard fuel and munitions sparked multiple secondary explosions.


The incident was the deadliest in the decade-long war in Afghanistan. In addition to the aircrew, 17 Navy SEALs, five naval special operations support personnel, three Air Force special tactics airmen, seven Afghan soldiers and an interpreter were killed. A military working dog also died.


Investigators inspected the aircraft wreckage, reviewed volumes of relevant documents and several hours of aircraft full-motion video and conducted more than 60 interviews, some with eyewitnesses, during their investigation, according to Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey N. Colt, who led the team.


Based on this review, Colt said they found no wrongdoing by U.S. or Afghan forces, and concluded that the mission was planned and executed appropriately.


“I have determined that this mission, and the tactics and resources employed in its execution, were consistent with previous U.S. special operations missions, and the strike forces selected to execute the mission were appropriate,” Colt reported.


Investigators concluded that the decision to load the entire immediate response force onto one helicopter to minimize exposure to ground fire and mass the assault force was “tactically sound.” They also determined that the helicopter crew members involved were “fully qualified” to conduct the mission.


The mission was launched the night of Aug. 5 to capture or kill Qari Tahir, an Afghan who had assumed the role of senior Taliban leader in Wardak province’s Tangi Valley, the investigation report revealed. Tahir was believed to have ties to senior Taliban leaders in Pakistan, including the Taliban’s shadow governor of Wardak.


The special operations task force manager, operating at a forward operating base in nearby Logar province, ordered one of his assault forces, built around a U.S. Army Ranger platoon, to conduct the mission. He also included an Afghan partnering unit, the report notes.


Another assault force, built around a Navy SEALs troop, was identified as the immediate reaction force, if needed.


Two CH-47D Chinook helicopters, two AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, an AC-130 gunship and “a relatively robust team of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft” supported the mission, the report said.


The plan was for the two CH-47 helicopters to airlift the assault force to a landing zone near the compound where Tahir was believed to be. The assault force then would move in to surround the compound, clear and secure it, question detainees and collect items of intelligence value.


While the mission was under way, overhead aircraft continued to track two armed enemy personnel who fled the site and joined several more suspected Taliban fighters. Tahir was believed to be among the group.


Based on the tactical situation, the special operations task force commander and immediate reaction force commander deployed the 17-man Navy SEAL immediate response force. To increase its capabilities, they added an Afghan partnering unit and additional assault support elements.


This increased the force to 32 members, with all loaded onto a single CH-47D.


“An informed tactical decision was made to load all personnel on one aircraft because the [immediate reaction force] commander wanted to mass troops quickly, and to mitigate the increased risk of a second helicopter approaching the landing zone,” the report says.


As the helicopter began descending to approach the landing zone and slowed to about 58 mph, a previously undetected group of suspected Taliban fighters began to attack, the report said. They fired two or three RPGs in rapid succession from the tower of a two-story, mud-brick building about 220 meters south of the aircraft, the report says.


Although the first RPG missed, the second struck one of the aft rotor blades and exploded. Within about five seconds, the aircraft dropped from the sky and crashed into a dry creek bed, where it burst into flames. Fuel and munitions caused multiple secondary explosions before the aircraft burned out several hours later, the report says.


The Ranger-led assault team rushed in by foot to search for survivors as overhead aircraft stood by to keep enemy fighters away from the crash site. A 20-man rescue and recovery unit quickly arrived to help secure the site and recover remains.


Within eight hours of the crash, they accounted for all 38 remains, as well as the military working dog. They were transported by ground convoy to Combat Outpost Sayyid Abad.


Meanwhile, efforts to recover the helicopter were disrupted by a flash flood that swept through the creek bed, washing parts of the wreckage up to 200 meters downstream, the report says. By Aug. 9, U.S. forces finished moving the aircraft from the site.


Colt extended condolences to those who lost comrades and loved ones in the crash. “For the families, friends and fellow warriors of the fallen, American and Afghan, the loss of these selfless and courageous men was a tragedy for which this report can provide little comfort,” he wrote. “I offer my deepest condolences, personally and on behalf of my investigative team, to all of those who mourn the loss of these brave men.”


An unclassified executive summary of the investigation is posted on Centcom’s website. A full copy of the redacted report is scheduled to be posted later today, officials said.

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14 octobre 2011 5 14 /10 /octobre /2011 17:00



14 October 2011 army-technology.com


The Afghan National Army (ANA) will begin the second phase of security transition from the coalition forces next month, Afghanistan Defence Ministry officials said.


The Nato officials said that the army will take over security responsibilities of some other regions from the coalition forces during the second phase of security transition.


The officials did not disclose the provinces that will be handed over to Afghan forces, according to Khaama News.


During the first phase of the transfer, Afghan security forces took over the security responsibilities for seven regions including the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah city.


Nato officials said that the total transition could be completed by the end of 2014.

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